Assistant Professor


  • Website:
  • Role:

  • Position:

    • Assistant Professor
  • Concentration:

    • Cultural Anthropology
  • Department:

    • Anthropology and Geography
  • Education:

    • Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology, Yale University, 2016 M.Phil in Sociocultural Anthropology, Yale University, 2013 M.S. Ed. in TESOL and Applied Linguistics, Long Island University, 2005 B.A. in International/Intercultural Studies, Pitzer College, 2001
  • Curriculum Vitae:


I have done extensive ethnographic research on the relationship between aesthetics and politics in the Republic of Guinea and also on youth and generational change in urban Africa. My  book Infinite Repertoire: on dance and urban possibility in postsocialist Guinea (U. Chicago Press 2021) is about dancers and musicians in Guinea’s capital city of Conakry working in troupes called “ballets.” These performing artists, whose profession was originally the outgrowth of socialist cultural policies, are reinventing the contours of their practice in a capitalist economy. I use dance as a medium through which to examine the complex relationship between affect, social life, and political economy in Africa. I have also written about migration between Africa and the United States, and have conducted research among expatriate Guinean Artists in New York and California.

My current project is an ethnographic study of rock climbers, their kinesthetic and linguistic practices, and the places they form relationships with. It has been generously supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Some of my recent publications can be found here:

I am currently accepting student applications in cultural anthropology at the Master’s and PhD level. I am interested in advising students conducting work in the following theoretical and topical areas: embodiment, performance, affect, outdoor recreation, environmental knowledges, anthropocene; urban studies (my expertise is in urban Africa specifically). If you are interested in applying to work with me, please email for more information.

Research Interests
Aesthetics and politics; African studies; political economy; urban theory; performance; art; semiotics; affect; sport; embodiment; environmental knowledges; semiotics; qualitative research methods



Book: Cohen, Adrienne (2021) Infinite Repertoire: On Dance and Urban Possibility in Postsocialist Guinea. The University of Chicago Press.

Peer-reviewed articles and book chapters:

(2023) (Forthcoming) “Multimodal Feminist Testimony: on Ambiguity, Embodiment, and Evidence in Guinea.” Hau Journal of Anthropological Theory, 12(3).

(2022) “Deliberations in Dance: Affecting Publics and the Politics of Ethnicity in Guinea’s Nascent Democracy.” African Studies Review. 65(1): 166-188.

(2021) “The Revolution Lost: Generational Change and Urban Youth Logics in Conakry’s Dance-Music.” In Young People and Popular Culture in Africa, edited by Paul Ugor. New York: University of Rochester Press, African Studies Series.

(2019) “Performing Excess: Urban Ceremony and the Semiotics of Precarity in Guinea-Conakry.” Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute. 89 (4): 718-738.

(2018) Occult return, divine grace, and saabui: practising transnational kinship in postsocialist Guinea. Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute 24:275-292.

(2016) Inalienable Performances, Mutable Heirlooms: Dance, Cultural Inheritance, and Political Transformation in the Republic of Guinea. American Ethnologist 43(4):650-662.


  • ANTH 100, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

  • ANTH 225, Anthropology of the Arts

  • ANTH 310, Peoples and Cultures of Africa: African Cities, Ethnographic Perspectives

  • ANTH 315, Global Mobilities: Transnationalism, Culture, and the African Diaspora

  • ANTH 440, Contemporary Theory in Cultural Anthropology